Forty four families living in Kandal’s Akrei Khsat commune, characterised by its ethnic Vietnamese population and floating homes, have jumped ship prior to their June 22 eviction deadline, moving to other parts of the country out of fear they would be forcibly removed.
Ta Tek, a chief of the Vietnamese association of Akrei Khsat, said that the families had failed to persuade local authorities to delay their eviction for eight more months and had decided to flee.
“They moved before June 22 because they were afraid of any destruction or violence,” he said.
Village resident Ban Prak, 58, said that he not yet sold some of his property, but that he had to move anyway.
“We are Vietnamese, we are not Khmer, so we dare not be stubborn, we dare not protest,” he said. “We know we were living illegally, but we lived there for more than 30 years.
The authorities should have given us more time, but they did not.”Lvea Em District Governor Bun Pheng said authorities would not have been responsible for property damage if the residents did not move out by the scheduled time.